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What do the two candidates to be the next prime minister say on policy?

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak go head to head on policy at the ITV debate. Jonathan Hordle/ITV
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak go head to head on policy at the ITV debate. Jonathan Hordle/ITV

Tory MPs have decided on the final two candidates who will vie for the Conservative leadership.

Now it is up to party members to decide whether Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss will be the next prime minister.

Both have clashed over policy in their bid to secure the top job.

Here we look at their stances on key issues.

Conservative leadership bid
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in Britain’s Next Prime Minister: The ITV Debate

– Tax and Spending

Rishi Sunak: The former chancellor has pitched himself as the fiscally conservative candidate and criticised his rivals’ plans to raise borrowing to pay for tax cuts as “comforting fairy tales”.

He has promised to “deliver tax cuts that drive growth”, but to do so in a “way that’s responsible” and only “after we’ve got a grip of inflation”.

Liz Truss: The Foreign Secretary has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one” with a new Budget and Spending Review that would reverse April’s rise in national insurance and next year’s corporation tax hike from 19% to 25%.

She has vowed to “simplify” taxes and ensure people are not penalised for caring for children or relatives.

She has not explained how she would pay for the £30 billion in tax cuts she has promised, but insists they “can be paid for within the existing fiscal envelope”.

– Immigration 

Rishi Sunak: Supports the current Government’s controversial Rwanda asylum policy, saying it will stop “an illegal set of criminal gangs who were causing people to die in pursuit of coming here”.

Liz Truss: Also supports the policy and said she has worked closely with the Home Secretary on it.

– Identity Politics

Rishi Sunak: Has criticised “trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language”. He has pledged a “manifesto for women’s right”, including opposing biological men being allowed to compete against women in sport and guidance for schools on how they teach issues of sex and gender.

Liz Truss: Has previously shelved plans for an overhaul of gender recognition rules to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender.

– Brexit and Europe

Rishi Sunak: The Leave-voter has promised to scrap or reform all EU law or bureaucracy still on the statute book by the time of the next general election, and have initial recommendations on whether each law stays or goes within 100 days.

Liz Truss: Voted Remain but has since embraced Brexit and scooped up the backing of staunch Brexiteers. Helped push through the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill which critics say breaks international law.

Reportedly said she would seek to reform the European Convention on Human Rights but would be “prepared to leave”.

– Defence 

Rishi Sunak: Views the Nato target of 2% of GDP as a “floor and not a ceiling” and notes it is set to rise to 2.5% “over time” but refuses to set “arbitrary targets”.

Liz Truss: Has pledged to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 and strengthen the intelligence services. She said the Government’s current plan to cut the size of the Army to 72,500 in 2025 is “up for review”.

– Climate Change and Net Zero

Rishi Sunak: Committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. He has pledged to keep the ban on building new onshore wind farms, but wants to introduce a legal target to make Britain energy self-sufficient by 2045 by overseeing a massive expansion in offshore turbines.

Liz Truss: Backs the net zero push, but would pause green levies on domestic energy bills, which could damage the target.

She says there is a strong case for lifting the ban on fracking and wants to move away from the EU’s habitat directive in favour of a stronger British biodiversity target.

– Housing and Infrastructure

Rishi Sunak: Has vowed to improve housing stock and energy efficiency. He wants to scrap EU Solvency II rules to help investors put money into infrastructure assets.

Liz Truss: Would scrap what she calls “Stalinist” housing targets in favour of tax cuts and deregulation.